A gene predicted to encode Trypanosoma brucei glucosamine 6-phosphate N-acetyltransferase (TbGNA1; EC 188.8.131.52) was cloned and expressed in Escherichia coli. The recombinant protein was enzymatically active, and its high-resolution crystal structure was obtained at 1.86 Å. Endogenous TbGNA1 protein was localized to the peroxisome-like microbody, the glycosome. A bloodstream-form T. brucei
GNA1 conditional null mutant was constructed and shown to be unable to sustain growth in vitro under nonpermissive conditions, demonstrating that there are no metabolic or nutritional routes to UDP-GlcNAc other than via GlcNAc-6-phosphate. Analysis of the protein glycosylation phenotype of the TbGNA1 mutant under nonpermissive conditions revealed that poly-N-acetyllactosamine structures were greatly reduced in the parasite and that the glycosylation profile of the principal parasite surface coat component, the variant surface glycoprotein (VSG), was modified. The significance of results and the potential of TbGNA1 as a novel drug target for African sleeping sickness are discussed.
The protozoan parasite Trypanosoma brucei is the causative agent of the cattle disease Nagana and human African sleeping sickness. Glycoproteins play key roles in the parasite’s survival and infectivity, and the de novo biosyntheses of the sugar nucleotides UDP-galactose (UDP-Gal), UDP-N-acetylglucosamine, and GDP-fucose have been shown to be essential for their growth. The only route to UDP-Gal in T.
brucei is through the epimerization of UDP-glucose (UDP-Glc) by UDP-Glc 4′-epimerase. UDP-Glc is also the glucosyl donor for the unfolded glycoprotein glucosyltransferase (UGGT) involved in glycoprotein quality control in the endoplasmic reticulum and is the presumed donor for the synthesis of base J (β-d-glucosylhydroxymethyluracil), a rare deoxynucleotide found in telomere-proximal DNA in the bloodstream form of T.
brucei. Considering that UDP-Glc plays such a central role in carbohydrate metabolism, we decided to characterize UDP-Glc biosynthesis in T.
brucei. We identified and characterized the parasite UDP-glucose pyrophosphorylase (TbUGP), responsible for the formation of UDP-Glc from glucose-1-phosphate and UTP, and localized the enzyme to the peroxisome-like glycosome organelles of the parasite. Recombinant TbUGP was shown to be enzymatically active and specific for glucose-1-phosphate. The high-resolution crystal structure was also solved, providing a framework for the design of potential inhibitors against the parasite enzyme.
kinetoplastids; sugar nucleotide metabolism; Trypanosoma brucei; UDP-glucose; UDP-glucose pyrophosphorylase
Galactose metabolism is essential for the survival of Trypanosoma brucei, the etiological agent of African sleeping sickness. T. brucei hexose transporters are unable to transport galactose, which is instead obtained through the epimerization of UDP-glucose to UDP-galactose catalyzed by UDP-glucose 4′-epimerase (galE). Here, we have characterized the phenotype of a bloodstream form T. brucei galE conditional null mutant under nonpermissive conditions that induced galactose starvation. Cellular levels of UDP-galactose dropped rapidly upon induction of galactose starvation, reaching undetectable levels after 72 h. Analysis of extracted glycoproteins by ricin and tomato lectin blotting showed that terminal β-d-galactose was virtually eliminated and poly-N-acetyllactosamine structures were substantially reduced. Mass spectrometric analysis of variant surface glycoprotein confirmed complete loss of galactose from the glycosylphosphatidylinositol anchor. After 96 h, cell division ceased, and electron microscopy revealed that the cells had adopted a morphologically distinct stumpy-like form, concurrent with the appearance of aberrant vesicles close to the flagellar pocket. These data demonstrate that the UDP-glucose 4′-epimerase is essential for the production of UDP-galactose required for galactosylation of glycoproteins and that galactosylation of one or more glycoproteins, most likely in the lysosomal/endosomal system, is essential for the survival of bloodstream form T. brucei.
In this paper, we describe the range of N-linked glycan structures produced by wild-type and glucosidase II null mutant bloodstream form Trypanosoma brucei parasites and the creation and characterization of a bloodstream form Trypanosoma brucei UDP-glucose:glycoprotein glucosyltransferase null mutant. These analyses highlight peculiarities of the Trypanosoma brucei UDP-glucose:glycoprotein glucosyltransferase, including an unusually wide substrate specificity, ranging from Man5GlcNAc2 to Man9GlcNAc2 glycans, and an unusually high efficiency in vivo, quantitatively glucosylating the Asn263 N-glycan of variant surface glycoprotein (VSG) 221 and 75% of all non-VSG N glycosylation sites. We also show that although Trypanosoma brucei UDP-glucose:glycoprotein glucosyltransferase is not essential for parasite growth at 37°C, it is essential for parasite growth and survival at 40°C. The null mutant was also shown to be hypersensitive to the effects of the N glycosylation inhibitor tunicamycin. Further analysis of bloodstream form Trypanosoma brucei under normal conditions and stress conditions suggests that it does not have a classical unfolded protein response triggered by sensing unfolded proteins in the endoplasmic reticulum. Rather, judging by its uniform Grp78/BiP levels, it appears to have an unregulated and constitutively active endoplasmic reticulum protein folding system. We suggest that the latter may be particularly appropriate for this organism, which has an extremely high flux of glycoproteins through its secretory pathway.
The cell surface glycoconjugates of trypanosomatid parasites are intimately involved in parasite survival, infectivity, and virulence in their insect vectors and mammalian hosts. Although there is a considerable body of work describing their structure, biosynthesis, and function, little is known about the sugar nucleotide pools that fuel their biosynthesis. In order to identify and quantify parasite sugar nucleotides, we developed an analytical method based on liquid chromatography-electrospray ionization-tandem mass spectrometry using multiple reaction monitoring. This method was applied to the bloodstream and procyclic forms of Trypanosoma brucei, the epimastigote form of T. cruzi, and the promastigote form of Leishmania major. Five sugar nucleotides, GDP-α-d-mannose, UDP-α-d-N-acetylglucosamine, UDP-α-d-glucose, UDP-α-galactopyranose, and GDP-β-l-fucose, were common to all three species; one, UDP-α-d-galactofuranose, was common to T. cruzi and L. major; three, UDP-β-l-rhamnopyranose, UDP-α-d-xylose, and UDP-α-d-glucuronic acid, were found only in T. cruzi; and one, GDP-α-d-arabinopyranose, was found only in L. major. The estimated demands for each monosaccharide suggest that sugar nucleotide pools are turned over at very different rates, from seconds to hours. The sugar nucleotide survey, together with a review of the literature, was used to define the routes to these important metabolites and to annotate relevant genes in the trypanosomatid genomes.
The enzymes phosphomannomutase (PMM), phospho-N-acetylglucosamine mutase (PAGM) and phosphoglucomutase (PGM) reversibly catalyse the transfer of phosphate between the C6 and C1 hydroxyl groups of mannose, N-acetylglucosamine and glucose respectively. Although genes for a candidate PMM and a PAGM enzymes have been found in the Trypanosoma brucei genome, there is, surprisingly, no candidate gene for PGM. The TbPMM and TbPAGM genes were cloned and expressed in Escherichia coli and the TbPMM enzyme was crystallized and its structure solved at 1.85 Å resolution. Antibodies to the recombinant proteins localized endogenous TbPMM to glycosomes in the bloodstream form of the parasite, while TbPAGM localized to both the cytosol and glycosomes. Both recombinant enzymes were able to interconvert glucose-phosphates, as well as acting on their own definitive substrates. Analysis of sugar nucleotide levels in parasites with TbPMM or TbPAGM knocked down by RNA interference (RNAi) suggests that, in vivo, PGM activity is catalysed by both enzymes. This is the first example in any organism of PGM activity being completely replaced in this way and it explains why, uniquely, T. brucei has been able to lose its PGM gene. The RNAi data for TbPMM also showed that this is an essential gene for parasite growth.
Glycosomes are a specialized form of peroxisomes (microbodies) present in unicellular eukaryotes that belong to the Kinetoplastea order, such as Trypanosoma and Leishmania species, parasitic protists causing severe diseases of livestock and humans in subtropical and tropical countries. The organelles harbour most enzymes of the glycolytic pathway that is responsible for substrate-level ATP production in the cell. Glycolysis is essential for bloodstream-form Trypanosoma brucei and enzymes comprising this pathway have been validated as drug targets. Glycosomes are surrounded by a single membrane. How glycolytic metabolites are transported across the glycosomal membrane is unclear.
We hypothesized that glycosomal membrane, similarly to membranes of yeast and mammalian peroxisomes, contains channel-forming proteins involved in the selective transfer of metabolites. To verify this prediction, we isolated a glycosomal fraction from bloodstream-form T.brucei and reconstituted solubilized membrane proteins into planar lipid bilayers. The electrophysiological characteristics of the channels were studied using multiple channel recording and single channel analysis. Three main channel-forming activities were detected with current amplitudes 70–80 pA, 20–25 pA, and 8–11 pA, respectively (holding potential +10 mV and 3.0 M KCl as an electrolyte). All channels were in fully open state in a range of voltages ±150 mV and showed no sub-conductance transitions. The channel with current amplitude 20–25 pA is anion-selective (PK+/PCl−∼0.31), while the other two types of channels are slightly selective for cations (PK+/PCl− ratios ∼1.15 and ∼1.27 for the high- and low-conductance channels, respectively). The anion-selective channel showed an intrinsic current rectification that may suggest a functional asymmetry of the channel's pore.
These results indicate that the membrane of glycosomes apparently contains several types of pore-forming channels connecting the glycosomal lumen and the cytosol.
The temperature-sensitive Bacillus subtilis tms-26 mutant strain was characterized biochemically and shown to be defective in N-acetylglucosamine 1-phosphate uridyltransferase activity. At the permissive temperature (34 degrees C), the mutant strain contained about 15% of the wild-type activity of this enzyme, whereas at the nonpermissive temperature (48 degrees C), the mutant enzyme was barely detectable. Furthermore, the N-acetylglucosamine 1-phosphate uridyltransferase activity of the tms-26 mutant strain was much more heat labile in vitro than that of the wild-type strain. The level of N-acetylglucosamine 1-phosphate, the substrate of the uridyltransferase activity, was elevated more than 40-fold in the mutant strain at the permissive temperature compared with the level in the wild-type strain. During a temperature shift, the level of UDP-N-acetylglucosamine, the product of the uridyltransferase activity, decreased much more in the mutant strain than in the wild-type strain. An Escherichia coli strain harboring the wild-type version of the tms-26 allele on a plasmid contained increased N-acetylglucosamine 1-phosphate uridyltransferase activity compared with that in the haploid strain. It is suggested that the gene for N-acetylglucosamine 1-phosphate uridyltransferase in B. subtilis be designated gcaD.
The sugar nucleotide UDP-N-acetylglucosamine (UDP-GlcNAc) is an essential metabolite in both prokaryotes and eukaryotes. In fungi, it is the precursor for the synthesis of chitin, an essential component of the fungal cell wall. UDP-N-acetylglucosamine pyrophosphorylase (UAP) is the final enzyme in eukaryotic UDP-GlcNAc biosynthesis, converting UTP and N-acetylglucosamine-1-phosphate (GlcNAc-1P) to UDP-GlcNAc. As such, this enzyme may provide an attractive target against pathogenic fungi. Here, we demonstrate that the fungal pathogen Aspergillus fumigatus possesses an active UAP (AfUAP1) that shows selectivity for GlcNAc-1P as the phosphosugar substrate. A conditional mutant, constructed by replacing the native promoter of the A. fumigatus uap1 gene with the Aspergillus nidulans alcA promoter, revealed that uap1 is essential for cell survival and important for cell wall synthesis and morphogenesis. The crystal structure of AfUAP1 was determined and revealed exploitable differences in the active site compared with the human enzyme. Thus AfUAP1 could represent a novel antifungal target and this work will assist the future discovery of small molecule inhibitors against this enzyme.
diphosphate N-acetylglucosamine pyrophosphorylase
(UAP) catalyzes the final reaction in the biosynthesis of UDP-GlcNAc,
an essential metabolite in many organisms including Trypanosoma
brucei, the etiological agent of Human African Trypanosomiasis.
High-throughput screening of recombinant T. brucei UAP identified a UTP-competitive inhibitor with selectivity over
the human counterpart despite the high level of conservation of active
site residues. Biophysical characterization of the UAP enzyme kinetics
revealed that the human and trypanosome enzymes both display a strictly
ordered bi–bi mechanism, but with the order of substrate binding reversed.
Structural characterization of the T. brucei UAP–inhibitor
complex revealed that the inhibitor binds at an allosteric site absent
in the human homologue that prevents the conformational rearrangement
required to bind UTP. The identification of a selective inhibitory
allosteric binding site in the parasite enzyme has therapeutic potential.
The compartmentalization of glycolytic enzymes into specialized organelles, the glycosomes, allows the bloodstream form of Trypanosoma brucei to rely solely on glycolysis for its energy production. The biogenesis of glycosomes in these parasites has been studied intensively as a potential target for chemotherapy. We have adapted the recently developed methods for stable transformation of T. brucei to the in vivo analysis of glycosomal protein import. Firefly luciferase, a peroxisomal protein in the lantern of the insect, was expressed in stable transformants of the procyclic form of T. brucei, where it was found to accumulate inside the glycosomes. Mutational analysis of the peroxisomal targeting signal serine-lysine-leucine (SKL) located at the C-terminus of luciferase showed that replacement of the serine residue (Serine548) with a small neutral amino acid (A, C, G, H, N, P, T) still resulted in an import efficiency of 50-100% of the wild-type luciferase. Lysine549 could be substituted with an amino acid capable of hydrogen bonding (H, M, N, Q, R, S), whereas the C-terminal leucine550 could be replaced with a subset of hydrophobic amino acids (I, M, Y). Thus, a peroxisome-like C-terminal SKL-dependent targeting mechanism may function in T. brucei to import luciferase into the glycosomes. However, a few significant differences exist between the glycosomal targeting signals identified here and the tripeptide sequences that direct proteins to mammalian or yeast peroxisomes.
Preparations of membrane plus wall derived from Bacillus subtilis W23 were used to study the in vitro synthesis of peptidoglycan and teichoic acid and their linkage to the preexisting cell wall. The teichoic acid synthesis showed an ordered requirement for the incorporation of N-acetylglucosamine from uridine 5'-diphosphate (UDP)-N-acetylglucosamine followed by addition of glycerol phosphate from cytidine 5'-diphosphate (CDP)-glycerol and finally by addition of ribitol phosphate from CDP-ribitol. UDP-N-acetylglucosamine was not only required for the synthesis of the teichoic acid, but N-acetylglucosamine residues formed an integral part of the linkage unit attaching polyribitol phosphate to the cell wall. Synthesis of the teichoic acid was exquisitely sensitive to the antibiotic tunicamycin, and this was shown to be due to the inhibition of incorporation of N-acetylglucosamine units from UDP-N-acetylglucosamine.
A Trypanosoma brucei TbGPI12 null mutant that is unable to express cell surface procyclins and free glycosylphosphatidylinositols (GPI) revealed that these are not the only surface coat molecules of the procyclic life cycle stage. Here, we show that non-GPI-anchored procyclins are N-glycosylated, accumulate in the lysosome, and appear as proteolytic fragments in the medium. We also show, using lectin agglutination and galactose oxidase-NaB3H4 labeling, that the cell surface of the TbGPI12 null parasites contains glycoconjugates that terminate in sialic acid linked to galactose. Following desialylation, a high-apparent-molecular-weight glycoconjugate fraction was purified by ricin affinity chromatography and gel filtration and shown to contain mannose, galactose, N-acetylglucosamine, and fucose. The latter has not been previously reported in T. brucei glycoproteins. A proteomic analysis of this fraction revealed a mixture of polytopic transmembrane proteins, including P-type ATPase and vacuolar proton-translocating pyrophosphatase. Immunolocalization studies showed that both could be labeled on the surfaces of wild-type and TbGPI12 null cells. Neither galactose oxidase-NaB3H4 labeling of the non-GPI-anchored surface glycoconjugates nor immunogold labeling of the P-type ATPase was affected by the presence of procyclins in the wild-type cells, suggesting that the procyclins do not, by themselves, form a macromolecular barrier.
Trypanosomes compartmentalize many metabolic enzymes in glycosomes, peroxisome-related microbodies that are essential to parasite survival. While it is understood that these dynamic organelles undergo profound changes in protein composition throughout life cycle differentiation, the adaptations that occur in response to changes in environmental conditions are less appreciated. We have adopted a fluorescent-organelle reporter system in procyclic Trypanosoma brucei by expressing a fluorescent protein (FP) fused to a glycosomal targeting sequence (peroxisome-targeting sequence 2 [PTS2]). In these cell lines, PTS2-FP is localized within import-competent glycosomes, and organelle composition can be analyzed by microscopy and flow cytometry. Using this reporter system, we have characterized parasite populations that differ in their glycosome composition. In glucose-rich medium, two parasite populations are observed; one population harbors glycosomes bearing the full repertoire of glycosome proteins, while the other parasite population contains glycosomes that lack the usual glycosome-resident proteins but do contain the glycosome membrane protein TbPEX11. Interestingly, these cells lack TbPEX13, a protein essential for the import of proteins into the glycosome. This bimodal distribution is lost in low-glucose medium. Furthermore, we have demonstrated that changes in environmental conditions trigger changes in glycosome protein composition. These findings demonstrate a level of procyclic glycosome diversity heretofore unappreciated and offer a system by which glycosome dynamics can be studied in live cells. This work adds to our growing understanding of how the regulation of glycosome composition relates to environmental sensing.
The sugar nucleotide GDP-mannose is essential for Trypanosoma brucei. Phosphomannose isomerase occupies a key position on the de novo pathway to GDP-mannose from glucose, just before intersection with the salvage pathway from free mannose. We identified the parasite phosphomannose isomerase gene, confirmed that it encodes phosphomannose isomerase activity and localized the endogenous enzyme to the glycosome. We also created a bloodstream-form conditional null mutant of phosphomannose isomerase to assess the relative roles of the de novo and salvage pathways of GDP-mannose biosynthesis. Phosphomannose isomerase was found to be essential for parasite growth. However, supplementation of the medium with low concentrations of mannose, including that found in human plasma, relieved this dependence. Therefore, we do not consider phosphomannose isomerase to be a viable drug target. We further established culture conditions where we can control glucose and mannose concentrations and perform steady-state [U-13C]-d-glucose labelling. Analysis of the isotopic sugar composition of the parasites variant surface glycoprotein synthesized in cells incubated in 5 mM [U-13C]-d-glucose in the presence and absence of unlabelled mannose showed that, under physiological conditions, about 80% of GDP-mannose synthesis comes from the de novo pathway and 20% from the salvage pathway.
Bloodstream-form Trypanosoma brucei acquire iron by receptor-mediated endocytosis of host transferrin. However, the mechanism(s) by which iron is then transferred from the lysosome to the cytosol are unresolved. Here, we provide evidence for the involvement of a protein (TbMLP) orthologous to the mammalian endolysosomal cation channel Mucolipin 1. In T. brucei, we show that this protein is localized to the single parasite lysosome. TbMLP null mutants could only be generated in the presence of an expressed ectopic copy, suggesting that the protein is essential. RNAi-mediated ablation resulted in a growth defect in vitro and led to a sevenfold increase in susceptibility to the iron-chelators deferoxamine and salicylhydroxamic acid. Conditional null mutants remained viable when the ectopic copy was repressed, but were hypersensitive to deferoxamine and displayed a growth defect similar to that observed following RNAi. The conditional nulls also retained virulence in vivo in the absence of the doxycycline inducer. These data provide strong evidence that TbMLP has a role in import of iron into the cytosol of African trypanosomes. They also indicate that even when expression is greatly reduced, there is sufficient protein, or an alternative mechanism, to provide the parasite with an adequate supply of cytosolic iron.
Trypanosoma brucei glycosomes (microbodies containing nine enzymes involved in glycolysis) have been purified to near homogeneity from bloodstream-form trypomastigotes for the purpose of morphologic and biochemical analysis. Differential centrifugation followed by two isopycnic centrifugations in an isotonic Percoll and in a sucrose gradient, respectively, resulted in 12- to 13-fold purified glycosomes with an overall yield of 31%. These glycosomes appeared to be highly pure and contained less than 1% mitochondrial contamination as judged by morphometric and biochemical analyses. In intact cells, glycosomes displayed a remarkably homogeneous size distribution centered on an average diameter of 0.27 micron with a standard deviation of 0.03 micron. The size distribution of isolated glycosomes differed only slightly from that measured in intact cells. One T. brucei cell contained on average 230 glycosomes, representing 4.3% of the total cell volume. The glycosomes were surrounded by a single membrane and contained as phospholipids only phosphatidyl choline and phosphatidyl ethanolamine in a ratio of 2:1. The purified glycosomal fraction had a very low DNA content of 0.18 microgram/mg protein. No DNA molecules were observed that could not have been derived from contaminating mitochondrial or nuclear debris.
Pyridoxal-5′-phosphate (vitamin B6) is an essential cofactor for many important enzymatic reactions such as transamination and decarboxylation. African trypanosomes are unable to synthesise vitamin B6de novo and rely on uptake of B6 vitamers such as pyridoxal and pyridoxamine from their hosts, which are subsequently phosphorylated by pyridoxal kinase (PdxK). A conditional null mutant of PdxK was generated in Trypanosoma brucei bloodstream forms showing that this enzyme is essential for growth of the parasite in vitro and for infectivity in mice. Activity of recombinant T. brucei PdxK was comparable to previously published work having a specific activity of 327 ± 13 mU mg−1 and a Kmapp with respect to pyridoxal of 29.6 ± 3.9 µM. A coupled assay was developed demonstrating that the enzyme has equivalent catalytic efficiency with pyridoxal, pyridoxamine and pyridoxine, and that ginkgotoxin is an effective pseudo substrate. A high resolution structure of PdxK in complex with ATP revealed important structural differences with the human enzyme. These findings suggest that pyridoxal kinase is an essential and druggable target that could lead to much needed alternative treatments for this devastating disease.
In Campylobacter jejuni the sugar 2,4-diacetamido-2,4,6-trideoxy-α-D-glucopyranose, termed N,N′-diacetylbacillosamine (Bac2,4diNAc), is the first carbohydrate in the glycoprotein N-linked heptasaccharide. Starting with uridine diphosphate-N-acetylglucosamine (UDP-GlcNAc) two enzymes of the general protein glycosylation (Pgl) pathway in C. jejuni (PglF and PglE) have been recently shown to modify this sugar nucleotide to form UDP-2-acetamido-4-amino-2,4,6-trideoxy-α-D-glycopyranose (UDP-4-amino-sugar) [Schoenhofen, I. C., et al. (2006) J Biol Chem 281, 723–732]. PglD has been proposed to catalyze the final step in N,N′-diacetylbacillosamine synthesis by N-acetylation of the UDP-4-amino-sugar at the C4 position. We have cloned, overexpressed and purified PglD from the pgl locus of C. jejuni NCTC 11168 and identified it as the acetyltransferase that modifies the UDP-4-amino-sugar to form UDP-N,N′-diacetylbacillosamine, utilizing acetyl coenzyme A as the acetyl group donor. The UDP-N,N′-diacetylbacillosamine product was purified from the reaction by reverse phase C18 HPLC and the structure determined by NMR analysis. Additionally, the full-length PglF was overexpressed and purified in the presence of detergent as a GST-fusion protein allowing for derivation of kinetic parameters. We found that the UDP-4-amino-sugar was readily synthesized from UDP-GlcNAc in a coupled reaction using PglF and PglE. We also demonstrate the in vitro biosynthesis of the complete heptasaccharide lipid-linked donor by coupling the action of eight enzymes (PglF, PglE, PglD, PglC, PglA, PglJ, PglH, and PglI) in the Pgl pathway in a single reaction vessel.
A method was developed for the large scale preparation of uridine diphosphate-N-acetylgalactosamine (UDP-GalNAc) from uridine diphosphate-N-acetylglucosamine (UDP-GlcNAc) by means of microbial enzymes. With Bacillus subtilis cell-free extract as a source of UDP-GlcNAc 4-epimerase, about 35% of the UDP-GlcNAc added was converted to UDP-GalNAc. After the residual UDP-GlcNAc was degraded to uridine triphosphate and N-acetylglucosamine-1-phosphate with a protamine-treated extract of bakers' yeast as a source of UDP-GlcNAc pyrophosphorylase, UDP-GalNAc was separated by anion-exchange column chromatography. The nucleotide was recovered by adsorption on charcoal and elution with ammoniacal ethanol. The final yield was about 100 μmol.
The in vitro lipid requirements of UDP-N-acetylglucosamine-dolichol phosphate N-acetylglucosamine-1-phosphotransferase for the inositol-containing sphingolipids from Saccharomyces cerevisiae were characterized in terms of concentration and specificity. The effects of combinations of lipids, especially phosphatidylinositol and the inositol-containing sphingolipids, were also tested on the transferase. Phosphatidylinositol and phosphatidylglycerol stimulated the enzyme 3.3- and 2.8-fold, respectively. The inositol-containing sphingolipids, phosphatidylcholine, phosphatidylethanolamine, and phosphatidylserine did not stimulate the activity of the transferase. Phosphatidylcholine and phosphatidylethanolamine in combination with phosphatidylinositol had no effect on the transferase activity; however, the inositol-containing sphingolipids markedly inhibited the stimulation of the transferase by phosphatidylinositol. This inhibition by the sphingolipids was prevented if phosphatidylcholine, in addition to the other lipids, was present in the assay mixture. In addition, changes due to inositol starvation in the in vivo membrane lipid environment, i.e., phosphatidylinositol and the inositol-containing sphingolipids, were analyzed to determine whether they corresponded to the observed in vitro effects. Three hours after the beginning of inositol starvation, there were 9- and 14-fold reductions in the accumulation of phosphatidylinositol in membrane fractions IIA (vesicles) and IV (endoplasmic reticulum), respectively, although there was only a 6-fold reduction in membrane fraction I (plasma membrane). The accumulation of [14C]inositol into inositol-containing sphingolipids also reflected the differences in the cellular location of membranes.
Enzymatic synthesis using glycosyltransferases is a powerful approach to building polysaccharides with high efficiency and selectivity. Sugar nucleotides are fundamental donor molecules in enzymatic glycosylation reactions by Leloir-type glycosyltransferases. The applications of these donors are restricted by their limited availability. In this protocol, N-acetylglucosamine (GlcNAc)/N-acetylgalactosamine (GalNAc) are phosphorylated by N-acetylhexosamine 1-kinase (NahK) and subsequently pyrophosphorylated by N-acetylglucosamine uridyltransferase (GlmU) to give UDP–GlcNAc/GalNAc. Other UDP–GlcNAc/GalNAc analogues can also be prepared depending on the tolerance of these enzymes to the modified sugar substrates. Starting from l-fucose, GDP–fucose is constructed by one bifunctional enzyme l-fucose pyrophosphorylase (FKP) via two reactions.
Bloodstream form Trypanosoma brucei acquire iron by receptor-mediated endocytosis of host transferrin. However, the mechanism(s) by which iron is then transferred from the lysosome to the cytosol are unresolved. Here, we provide evidence for the involvement of a protein (TbMLP) orthologous to the mammalian endolysosomal cation channel mucolipin 1. In T. brucei, we show that this protein is localised to the single parasite lysosome. TbMLP null mutants could only be generated in the presence of an expressed ectopic copy, suggesting that the protein is essential. RNAi-mediated ablation resulted in a growth defect in vitro and led to a 7-fold increase in susceptibility to the iron-chelators deferoxamine and salicylhydroxamic acid. Conditional null mutants remained viable when the ectopic copy was repressed, but were hypersensitive to deferoxamine and displayed a growth defect similar to that observed following RNAi. The conditional nulls also retained virulence in vivo in the absence of the doxycycline inducer. These data provide strong evidence that TbMLP has a role in import of iron into the cytosol of African trypanosomes. They also indicate that even when expression is greatly reduced, there is sufficient protein, or an alternative mechanism, to provide the parasite with an adequate supply of cytosolic iron.
trypanosome iron transport; lysosome; endocytosis; transferrin
Glycosomes are microbody organelles found in kinetoplastida, where they serve to compartmentalize the enzymes of the glycolytic pathway. In order to identify the mechanism by which these enzymes are targeted to the glycosome, we have modified the in vitro import assay developed by Dovey et al. (Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 85:2598-2602, 1988). This assay measures the uptake of in vitro-translated Trypanosoma brucei glycosomal 3-phosphoglycerate kinase (gPGK) by purified glycosomes. Up to 50% of the total 35S-gPGK in the glycosomal fraction was resistant to extraction by 3 M urea or treatment with proteinase K (500 micrograms/ml). The glycosome-associated 35S-gPGK could be chemically cross-linked to the endogenous glycosomal proteins to form a sodium dodecyl sulfate-resistant complex, suggesting that it is close to the intraglycosomal protein matrix. Deoxycholate solubilized the glycosome and thereby rendered the glycosome-associated 35S-gPGK fully susceptible to proteinase K. However, the glycosome-associated 35S-gPGK was not digested by proteinase K in the presence of Triton X-100, which cannot dissolve the glycosomal protein core. The 35S-gPGK synthesized in vitro was able to bind directly to protein cores, where it became resistant to urea extraction and proteinase K digestion. However, the 35S-gPGK-protein core complex exhibited a much higher density than the 35S-gPGK-glycosome complex and was readily separable in sucrose gradients. Thus, in our in vitro import assay, the 35S-gPGK appeared to associate with intact glycosomes, possibly reflecting import of protein into the organelle. Complete denaturation of the 35S-gPGK in 8 M urea prior to the assay enhanced the efficiency of its association with glycosomes. Native gPGK did not compete with the association of in vitro-translated gPGK unless it was denatured. The assay exhibited time and temperature dependence, but it did not require externally added ATP and was not inhibited by the nonhydrolyzable analogs adenosine-5'-(beta,gamma-imido)-triphosphate and gamma-S-ATP. However, the presence of 20 to 30 microM ATP inside the glycosome may fulfill the requirement for protein import.
The nucleotide sugar UDP-galactose (UDP-Gal) is essential for the biosynthesis of several abundant glycoconjugates forming the surface glycocalyx of the protozoan parasite Leishmania major. Current data suggest that UDP-Gal could arise de novo by epimerization of UDP-glucose (UDP-Glc) or by a salvage pathway involving phosphorylation of Gal and the action of UDP-glucose:α-d-galactose-1-phosphate uridylyltransferase as described by Leloir. Since both pathways require UDP-Glc, inactivation of the UDP-glucose pyrophosphorylase (UGP) catalyzing activation of glucose-1 phosphate to UDP-Glc was expected to deprive parasites of UDP-Gal required for Leishmania glycocalyx formation. Targeted deletion of the gene encoding UGP, however, only partially affected the synthesis of the Gal-rich phosphoglycans. Moreover, no alteration in the abundant Gal-containing glycoinositolphospholipids was found in the deletion mutant. Consistent with these findings, the virulence of the UGP-deficient mutant was only modestly affected. These data suggest that Leishmania elaborates a UDP-Glc independent salvage pathway for UDP-Gal biosynthesis.
nucleotide sugars metabolism; trypanosomatids; UDP-galactose; UDP-glucose